I want to become a society lady Rockin' a new rock?!

Ellen and Tom planned an incredibly elegant wedding in their local hometown of St. Louis Missouri, using their chapel venue as inspiration for the entire wedding. We absolutely love how Ellen tied as many meaningful elements into their special day as possible! Read her story with us, alongside the gorgeous images by Jordan Brittley!

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Tell us about finding your gown!

I had the hardest time committing to a dress. I tried on about 150 dresses at 12 different shops in 3 different cities. I knew I didn’t want to look like every other bride I had seen but I couldn’t quite figure out what it was that I wanted to look like. The whole process seemed like such an important and expensive commitment and I was terrified to make the wrong choice. I couldn’t settle on a budget, style, or designer. It wasn’t until I let myself give in to what I really wanted and let go of everyone else’s ideas and opinions that I found my dress. After I purchased the dress I still did have one person’s opinion nagging in the back of my mind. From the beginning, my mother was insistent that I not have a strapless dress. After accompanying me on my many attempts to find a dress she reached a point where she was ready for the experience to be over and a realization that salons didn’t offer a great selection of dresses beyond strapless. I met with my seamstress before the dress even arrived and we drew up a sketch for a jacket to go over the dress for the ceremony. The jacket became the key piece to the dress that made it truly one of a kind. I was able to surprise my mom with it during the second fitting and surprised Tom as well with a mini wardrobe change from the first look to the walk down the aisle. I loved being able to change up my look without completely changing my dress. It brought a timeless elegance to my bridal ensemble while still allowing me to dance the night away without being restricted.

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Tell us about what made your day special and unique!

We loved the significance of getting married at Washington University, where Tom is currently a graduate student, and of course the beauty of the campus and chapel made for a lovely start to the evening. Long before we were actually engaged we agreed that our reception would have to be at the Racquet Club. Having enjoyed many date nights and parties at the Racquet Club we knew that not only was the location gorgeous but the service, food, and atmosphere are unparalleled. We actually decided on the venue first and then planned the rest wedding around it. Our inspiration really came from the venue. We used the stain glass windows to determine our color palette, the old world charm inspired tuxedos and cigars, and the dark wood and stone fireplaces led us to choose an autumn evening for the date. I poured through wedding blogs and magazines but really tried to find inspiration around me so that our wedding was really a reflection of who we are.

We really wanted to include our dog, Rocky, in our wedding but were not quite sure how since neither venue is pet friendly. We debated bringing him for pictures but the logistics and timing were not working out and I finally had to be the person to say, “it just won’t work.” I knew that Tom was heartbroken that Rocky wouldn’t be there. I gave him the cufflinks as a way to have his best friend with him as he walked down the aisle.

Handkerchiefs have a big significance in our family. Not only were several passed down, including the one I carried from my great grandmother, but we also all received handkerchiefs when we were younger. My family is full of criers and we wanted to make sure everyone could look a bit more elegant while shedding happy tears and have a beautiful memento to remember the day.

Since the reception was at a men’s club we wanted to make sure the ladies room well attended to. I gathered a few of my favorite toiletries and found a beautiful tray at an antique store. We included a few essentials such as extra hair bands and bobby pins to keep everyone looking their best. It’s so easy to get swept up in planning and lose your mind a little bit.

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Do you have any advice for brides-to-be?

Focus on details that have significance to your relationship and will be unique to your day, not the latest trend on Pinterest. On the day of, slow down and take the time to appreciate all your hard work. The best part of the day was being announced as Mr. and Mrs. Noel at the reception. We walked in to a beautiful roomed filled with our favorite people and I have never heard a round of applause more genuine and filled with excitement. I felt amazing to know that everyone was so ecstatic to be there celebrating our relationship.

Mr & Mrs Noel from Jordan Brittley on Vimeo.

Vendors: Photographer: Jordan Brittley // Event Venue: Graham Chapel // Getting Ready Venue: The Chase Park Plaza // Bathroom Soap/Lotion: K. Hall // Bathroom Tray: Antique Store // Pie Tags and Cocktail Napkins: For Your Party // Monogrammed Soap: Carved Solutions // Custom Pillows: CKD Originals // Transportation: Best Transportation // Mocha Heart Cookies: DIY // Mini Pies and Cake: Sugaree // Makeup: Blown Away St. Louis // Hair: Maren Keen // Ring Bearer’s Outfits: Women’s Exchange // Flower Girl Dress: Laura Ashley // Bow Ties: Brooks Brothers // Bridesmaid Dresses: Adrianna Papell // Jewelry: Genovese // Shoes: Jimmy Choo // Jacket: R&M Designs // Veil and Dress: Vera Wang // Calligraphy: Barbara Winnerman // Paper Products: Service Bureau // Reception Band: Mirage // Ceremony Music: Rosewood Ensemble // Florist: Ken Meisner // Reception Venue: Racquet Club

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Diana and Owen hosted their wedding at Owen’s family farm in Vermont. The colors, the details, the flowers–they’re all so beautiful. But the sweet stories that Diana shared with us make it that much more lovely! Whenever Jen Huang Photography and floral gurus, Poppies & Posies, work together on a wedding, it’s always magic. Just wait and see.

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Tell us about your gown!

Because the wedding was so far away from home (California), my mom wanted to do something super special. We decided we’d meet in the Philippines to get my gown designed and made. We drove out to a small town called Lumban, famous for its centuries long tradition of embroidery (dating back to Spanish colonial times when nuns taught the craft to orphans). I gave them a drawing I had done of flowers I would like to include in the design. Two embroiderers worked on the fabric for two months before sending it to my designer in Manila.

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Tell us about your big day!

We held the wedding at Owen’s family’s vacation home in Dorset, Vermont. Tucked away in the Green Mountains, it’s one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever seen, and we’ve spent so much time there with friends and family that we couldn’t imagine having it anywhere else. Owen’s mom spent an entire year getting the property ready (from leveling the ground so we would have the ideal location to place the gorgeous Sperry tent) to planting new trees and flowers in my favorite colors—everywhere.

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Did you do any D-I-Y projects?

I’m an architect so I really love making things—everything! So I knew from the beginning I had to be careful to not do exactly that. I decided that paper goods would be the ONE thing that I did myself. I got a tiny home letterpress and hand-pressed each and every piece of paper for the wedding. Doing them myself allowed me to invest meaning into every element. The invitation is an illustration I drew of Beech Haven (the name of the property) and the save-the-date is an illustration of us jumping into a swimming hole just down the road. Everything else was decorated with a collection of simple wildflower silhouettes that I had been collecting on my trips up to Dorset. I left everything else to a TOO-GOOD-TO-BE-TRUE team of vendors who I will forever be grateful for.

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What was the most memorable part of the day?

The ceremony was by far the most memorable moment of the day. We had been preparing the site for months. I invited my college friends up for a spring weekend to build a platform on the ceremony site (sorta my version of a bachelorette party). They cheerily toiled through a mix of rain and drizzle so that we’d have a solid and level place to stand to exchange vows. We planted wildflowers there and Owen’s dad cleared all of the dead trees. In the two weeks leading up to the wedding Owen and I built all of the benches that the guests would sit on, from wood that was harvested from the property. My man-of-honor laid the muslin for the aisle and Owen’s aunt Debbie (who we had just traveled with through India) performed the ceremony. We felt so honored to share our love with every single person who had put so much love into that day.

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Tell us how you met and became engaged.

Owen and I met while planning an academic conference on “Uselessness”—no joke. We were both first years in doctoral programs. We didn’t start dating until later but you can imagine how many puns we squeezed out of that story. Owen had a very elaborate plan to propose to me in the Campbell Apartment (my favorite hidden space) in Grand Central Station (my favorite building) before hopping on a train to Blue Hill at Stone Barns (my favorite restaurant), but he couldn’t wait and spontaneously proposed the day before in our cozy home. That meant he was very relaxed the next day and he had fun pointing out all of the details of the elaborately planned proposal.

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Vendors: Photography: Jen Huang Photography // Floral Design: Poppies & Posies // Catering: Michael Stuart NYC // Videography: Andy Jackson, Portal Films + Link to Short Edit // Tent Rental: Sperry Tents, Vermont // Wedding Coordination: Wedding Planning Plus // Ceremony Music: Maxine Neuman // DJ: Peak Entertainment // Hair: Kerry Armstrong // Dress: Oliver Tolentino Couture // Grooms Suit: Paul Smith // Groomsmen and Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew and Anthropologie // Couples Website

Haley and Seth planned a fall wedding that combined her talents as a graphic designer with their desire to make everyone feel like “home” at their wedding. As these celebrations are often times a family reunion of sorts, they embraced the occasion to bring their loved ones together for plenty of candid photos on the lawn, custom cocktails, yard games, and a night full of dancing! Photographer, Brett Heidebrecht, who we love love love love, shot all of these gorgeous images and we are so honored to share them with you, along with the full story of Haley and Seth! (Pssst…did you know we featured Haley and Seth’s engagement too? It’s beyond. Seriously.)

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Tell us how you met:

Haley & Seth’s paths crossed on the soccer field (an apt place if you know them both). Their mutual friend Stephanie invited Seth to come out and play on a Dallas social sports league co-ed soccer team. Haley and Seth started to talk at one of the games and realized MANY common denominators, most of them coming from growing up in Edmond and all of their Oklahoma friends connections. They were lucky in that their Dallas social group was a massive collection of people that was continually evolving and expanding. Most weeks, they could count on at least one if not several group “funtivities” going on. One of these was an outdoor Coldplay concert, where they first really talked beyond the soccer field and got to know each other. They continued to stay friends, play soccer as teammates on “Kiss My Arsenal” on Monday nights, and see each other at the group activities.

FINALLY, Seth asked Haley out after a long and rambling late night friend conversation. Their first date was at The Libertine Pub in Dallas and consisted of snacketizers, beverages, and 3 hours of fun (okay maybe some awkward pauses), non-stop conversation. This evolved into more dates, group hangouts, river float trips, concerts, film festivals, movie nights, and just complete enjoyment sharing life with the other. The rest, as they say…is history!

How did you become engaged?

Seth and I were in New Jersey for his cousin’s wedding that weekend. Sunday morning Seth, his parents, and I headed over to NYC to do some exploring and see our friend Laura for a few hours. Little did I know, Laura and Seth had been scheming (along with our friends, Erica and Stu) for weeks trying to plot the best spot for him to pop the question in NYC while we were there. Long story short – Laura was hiding in Central Park documenting our adventure through the park (this includes Seth changing the plans and me getting irritated… then after the fact, me feeling quite bad for getting irritated, haha). Seth finally got up the nerve and popped the question on this pretty wooden bridge in Central Park. It was incredibly sweet, funny, and so Seth.

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We want to hear about your wedding day!

Our wedding day was pretty magical and just how I pictured it being. A crisp, sunny, Fall day with friends and family scattered outside visiting, hugging, taking photos, drinking cocktails, playing yard games, and dancing. I almost just wanted to be a fly on the wall so I could really just watch everyone else enjoy this special reunion. It made me feel overly blessed.

There were so many details that I loved. We really wanted everyone to feel at home and comfortable, so we wanted to keep everything very warm and natural. There was a lot of wood, lace, gold, greenery, deep oxblood, soft lighting, and our flowers were some of the most unique ones I have ever seen. I feel like I can say that because I didn’t pick them out or have a specific bouquet or centerpiece in mind, but basically put my trust into the incredibly talented Katie Huskerson at Birdie to really do what she thought would represent us best. I was completely blown away.

Since I’m a graphic designer I really wanted to have personal design touches, that being the bar signs, the big painted itinerary, and our invitations. I loved being able to be crafty again and use my hands. It was nice to see those things scattered around the venue. Dana Scott, my wedding planner and coordinator was a huge help and is also very creative. She styled the venue so perfectly. Being able to put trust in people is very liberating but also scary – I felt so blessed that our “dream team” made it all come together for us.

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What is your most vivid memory from the day?

I’ll start this one with the beginning of the day. I was at my sisters house with all my girlfriends and mom getting ready and it was time to put my dress on. So, I’m putting it on and I look over and I see all of my girls in their flannel shirts and leggings all scrunched in the doorway watching this moment I’m having with my mom, sister, and baby niece. That was the first time I got really teary. For me it wasn’t that I was putting on my dress, but it was just that I felt so loved in that moment and I cherish every one of them so much and was just so thankful to have them there with me. (Still gives me lump in my throat!)

The next vivid memory was when Seth and I were getting ready to be announced into the reception as Mr. and Mrs. Seth Scherm. I picked the song “Take Back the Night” by Mr. Justin Timberlake to walk in to because, well… its Justin Timberlake and I knew it would give everyone a little hop in their step! Hand in hand, we turned the corner to enter the barn and it was a full on tunnel of love, smiles, and loud cheering – I honestly don’t know how I didn’t burst into tears. Pure joy.

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Which vendors helped make the dream happen?

Holy cow. We had the dream team. I know everyone probably says that but I just felt so taken care of and so heard throughout it all. I’m so thankful for Dana at Archive Events for everything. I can’t even write it all out because she did too much. She was the person I would call when I knew no one else would REALLY care about random things or thoughts throughout the process and she answered with so much support and wisdom. From beginning to end, Dana was there for everything – she put me at ease and that was always so comforting.

I also got VERY lucky when my sister married a photographer. Not just a photographer, but an insanely talented one at that! Brett Heidebrecht was made for this kind of thing – you can see it within every photograph. I really wanted our photographs to be beautifully natural and not overly processed or photoshopped and that’s why I love Brett’s work. He gives you photographs that actually look like what you remember your day being like. To make a photograph look very professional yet still very real and hardly touched is hard to do, so I always have to rave about him!

Flowers, flowers, flowers. Birdie smashed it. I already mentioned a bit above about them, but I will go on. Immediately when we got engaged I already knew I was going to use Birdie as our florist. I’ve seen their work at other weddings and I just knew I had to have them. I met with Katie and basically just told her that I didn’t want any of my flowers to look like I showed her a photo of a bouquet or an idea on pinterest, but to try and create something we hadn’t really seen a lot. I wanted something different – something she hadn’t done before and I wanted her to come up with it. She started naming all these flowers and I was like – yes, yes, yes, I have no idea what that is but that sounds good – let’s do it! They delivered the bouquets to the church and I yelped a few times. I was blown away. I couldn’t wait to get the reception to see the rest.

Rhonda and Colleen at The Red Barn on Waldo’s Pond were wonderful. When I first heard about their barn I went out there and it was totally gutted and being transformed into a working venue. Not everyone saw the vision of what the finished barn would look like – but I just knew that it would turn out to be beautiful. I just had to have it for us.

There were so many other wonderful vendors that helped us have a memorable day. Matt Vaughen at Beat Boss Entertainment put on one heck of a party for us in the barn – lots of dancing, glow sticks and lights. The Mills Band played an acoustic set for us outside in the paddock during cocktail hour – incredible! IES lighting hung up some beautiful bistro lighting around the venue so that everything was glowing and magical. We rented some gorgeous farm tables from Kahoy Studios that were just perfect for our outdoor setting. Local Eatery provided a divine slider bar and some yummy cocktails! Michelle at Michelle’s Cakes baked and decorated the most beautifully delicious cakes. And lastly, I have to thank the two girls who did my makeup and hair, Sandy at The Social Club for my hair-do and my friend Kristyn Ersteniuk for doing my makeup.

Vendors: Photography: Brett Heidebrecht // Reception Venue: Red Barn on Waldo’s Pond // Planner/Designer: Archive Events // Floral Designer: Birdie // DJ: Beat Boss Entertainment // Hair: Social Club // Cakes: Michelle’s Cakes // MUA: Kristyn Ersteniuk // Table Rentals: Kahoy Studios // Cocktail Band: The Mills Band // Lighting: IES

We are upping the ante over here at Grey Likes Weddings. We’re on the hunt for the most beautiful weddings ever, and 2014 has so much inspiration in store! Today’s feature comes to us from one of our new favorite photographers, Lacie Hansen, who has the capacity to capture the perfect combination of moments and art. We love her, and we ADORE Heidi and Brandon’s beautiful Santa Barbara Four Seasons Biltmore wedding!

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On top of all these GORG images, I can’t believe we’re lucky enough to feature an accompanying film by one of our faves, Joel Serrato.

heidi and brandon from joel serrato on Vimeo.

Vendors: Wedding Photography: Lacie Hansen Photography // Wedding Venue + Catering + Cakes: Santa Barbara Four Seasons Biltmore // After Party: Santa Barbara Four Seasons Coral Casino // Wedding Planning: Liz Brown of Central Coast Memory Makers // Event + Floral Design: Kate Holt of Flowerwild // Wedding Cinematography: Joel Serrato Films // Ceremony Officiants: Rabbi Arthur Rosenberg and Reverend Gary Dickey // Wedding Stationery: Crane & Co. + Letter Perfect // Ceremony, Cocktail + Reception Band: Side Effect (West Coast Music) // After Party DJ: Everett Wong // Party Favors: Mother of the Bride’s Homemade Strawberry Preserves // Wedding Dress: ”Emma” Dress by Monique Lhuillier // Bride’s Veil: Monique Lhuillier // Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale (Champagne, Coral + Blush – various silhouettes) // Hair: Michelle Mason // Makeup: TEAM Hair and Makeup // Groomsmen Suits: “Ludlow” by J.Crew // Linens: La Tavola Linen 

Hiten, the groom in today’s feature, offered us such an eloquent retelling of the love story between he and his bride, Nicole, that we decided to step aside and let him take it from the top. An overwhelming thank you to photographer Lacie Hansen for sharing with us her work, and telling such a beautiful story with her images. Without further adieu, the groom:

The yoga class we religiously attend describes itself to be a style of class that, “offers nothing…if we are lucky.” And this is exactly how we met, within a whole lot of nothing. I came to class early one Thursday evening and Nicole did too. There was only one mat in the back of the class when Nicole came in, mine. She quietly set her mat down beside me and our relationship began. I guess somewhere in the silence and breath we found a connection to each other. Even before uttering a single word between us, we felt it immensely. We always reminisce about that time and about how glad we are that we met there, in that way. Yoga, for us, is a place where a person really gets to be who they are, without a façade, authentically themselves. You get to be someone who is working on strengthening not only the outside body but the inside as well, happy to live in the present. We both recall that particular yoga class being challenging but exceptionally robust and energizing. After class, as the crowd poured out of the studio, we both—uncharacteristically, sat and waited. I broke the silence by asking her how old she was when she realized that she lived a blessed life….I think we both immediately fell in love. We had our first date the next day on Friday February 5, 2010, said we Loved each other on Saturday, February 6 and on Sunday began to plan our marriage and our family. And that was it, no struggle, no fight, no second guessing. Just us.

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Seeing your wife for the first time at your own wedding is a surreal moment. And I remember that moment clearly. I was sitting under the mandap with my parents and Nicole was to be walked by her parents under the branches or our tree and through the audience. As she appeared and came into my view it was just like really seeing something with naked eyes, something for the first time and it is etched into my memory.

The whole day, as the tumult was swirling around us, I had made a mental decision to stay present and be within all the big moments that make up our wedding. And this moment was the one I was practicing for all day…in fact, probably, all my life.

As she stepped into the light where I could see her, he eyes were shining, her red sari was blazing around her like fire, and as corny as it may sound, she was literally that vision you see from far away and squint your eyes hard to make sure it is really real.

As she started to walk towards me, a soft breeze began to blow, and as if on cue, the 300-year-old oak tree sent its leaves to bless her movements. They fell slowly in circles from the sky and faintly the smell of flowers and earth filled my lungs. The only time I even took my eyes off my wife was to look up at the sky, the clouds bright in the light blue sky, and a flash of the mountains that circled our ceremony. When they finally rejoined my wife’s she was happy and that memory was pressed into me forever.

My uncle told me once, that as you grow old, it isn’t the big houses or the fancy cars you drove in your youth that make you really happy. He said it’s the memories you made in your life in the crucial times that matter. The feelings the strong ones bring you are worth all the struggles and hardships you went through to get them. With this memory, I agree.

We had a beautiful traditional Brahmin Hindu ceremony to celebrate our union, and wanted to carry the Indian influences on throughout the cocktail & reception with the decor as well as the food. We are both pretty laid back in our lifestyle as well as our personal style, so we wanted to wedding to reflect that, inviting and comfortable for our guests, with unique Indian inspired details throughout the event. For our colors, we choose a lot of gold and saffron tones with pops of indigo. Our wedding fell on a beautiful, warm full moon night and our memories of dancing under the full moon with all of our closet friends will remain some of the best memories of our lives together.

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Ojai Valley Inn & Spa Wedding Film {Nicole & Hiten} Ojai, Ca from LoveSpun Handmade Wedding Films on Vimeo.

Vendors | Photography: Lacie Hansen | Location: Ojai Valley Inn & Spa | Creative Direction + Floral Design: Kate Holt of Flowerwild | Wedding Planner: La Fleur Weddings & Events | Cinematography: Love Spun Films| Invitation Suite + Wedding Day Paper + Production: Amber Moon of Pitbulls and Posies | Wedding Day Calligraphy + Poem Artwork: Chelsea Petaja of Oh My Deer | Invitation and Envelope Calligraphy: Kelle McCarter of DesignsGirl | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Wedding Decor+ Rentals: Elan Event Rentals | Linens: La Tavola | DJ: Michael Antonia of The Flash Dance  | Wedding Dress: Junko Yoshioka | Shoes:Badgley Mischka | Hair + Makeup: Mar of TEAM Hair and Makeup | Lingerie: Claire Pettibone | Men’s Suit: Bar III | Men’s Shirt: Calvin Klein | Men’s Shoes: Bruno Magli